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Author: Tom Butler

All Things Etheric

Let’s talk about God


It is common to hear people speak of God, usually in grand terms such as God is the all-knowing yet unknowable punisher of the wicked and benign provider to the deserving. The usual proof for this god is: “Look around. How else could all of this be possible?”

Spiritualists speak of God as a ubiquitous presence and the source of Natural Law. While the Spiritualist organizations reject the father god characterization, individually, Spiritualists tend to stay with the old ways, characterizing God as a benefactor and giver of laws. The foundation proof of this god is Natural Law.

For many people, the need to look to a higher source is stronger than the desire to maintain a rational world perspective. A person may not believe in God but still look to a divine influence to make sense of life. We are good at compartmentalizing our need for divinity from our need for rationality.

Informed Perception of God

If God is a father god living in some distant part of reality like the mythological gods of Mount Olympus, then perhaps it will remain unknowable. However, an important assumption in many ancient wisdom schools* is that reality is knowable. As a logical exercise, that means God is knowable, as well. So, let’s talk about what we know, beginning with three assumptions:

  1. God is the source of reality
  2. God is expressed as order in reality.
  3. God is knowable
  4. Each instance of life is an aspect of God

* Ancient wisdom schools, especially Hermetic Traditions, tend to be knowledge based, rather than faith based. Also, the assumption that reality, and by extension, God is knowable is the foundation assumption of systems teaching the concept of Natural Law.

Taken as a logical argument, these givens imply a therefore which might be summed as:

Therefore: By knowing about ourselves, we can know about God.

Building a Cosmology

A cosmology is a model of reality based on the metaphysical study of the nature of reality. A useful tool for developing a cosmology is black box analysis. The technique is often used for reverse engineering a competitor’s device when only the purpose, input and output is known. The result is supposed to be a device, process, technique … something that will satisfy the input and output to fulfill the same purpose.

Black box analysis is also a way to develop a metaphysical cosmology that may not be actually correct but is functionally correct and useful for further study. The theory presented here has evolved from of such a study.

Foundation Concepts

A number of important concepts need to be part of this study. It is important that you understand and are comfortable with them, so please feel free to contact me at (ethericstudies.org/contact.htm) if you would like a better explanation, have questions and/or suggestions:

  • Reality is referred to here as the etheric, as opposed to the physical which is referred to as an aspect of the etheric.

The psi field described in parapsychology is considered etheric, but to avoid confusion, it is treated as a local aspect of reality which is in conjunction with the physical.

  • A person is an etheric life field entangled with a human body in an avatar relationship.

The Functional Areas of a Life Field diagram below illustrates many of these points. The Life Field concept is explained in detail at ethericstudies.org.1

  • We exist in the etheric. This includes our personality (who we really are as: I am this), unconscious mind, perceptual processes and conscious self (I think I am this). As a person, our conscious self experiences reality from the perspective of the human body.
  • Conscious self’s perception is normally dominated by worldview which is a combination of human instincts, inherited urge to learn, inherited and acquired understanding and beliefs acquired during the current lifetime.
  • The human senses are transformed into etheric form for processing in the perception function of our unconscious mind (External Influence in the Life Field diagram below).
  • As it is modeled, we enter into a lifetime to gain understanding about the nature of reality as it is expressed in the physical. This is an urge inherited from our Source.
  • As objects of reality, fields consist of related elements which are attracted to an intelligent core. (A thoughtform is an example of a field.)
  • Life, characterized as a life field, is the building block of reality. In the cosmology, life fields are arranged as a hierarchsierpinski_triangley of nested fields.

Functional areas of each instance of a life field are more or less expressed. For instance, compare human life field to cell life field.

The last point needs explaining. A fractal is a shape which is repeated at all levels of granularity. As an example, in what is known as a Sierpinski Triangle (right), the equilateral triangle is a fractal. In principle, the triangle is repeated at every level of magnification.2

Functional Area of Life FieldThe Life Field represents a fractal as the building block of reality. The functional areas in the diagram and their relationship have come from the black box analysis technique. (Functionally correct, may not be technically correct) Think of yourself as the Conscious Self functional area, the Attention Complex as your unconscious mind and Personality functional area is your higher self and that which is immortal. The Intelligent Core is the autonomic system of your life field as the body consciousness is the autonomic system for your body body.

As Above, So Below

Another assumption is that reality is homogenous, in that knowing the nature of one part indicates the nature of the rest. Hermes is said to have taught this fundamental concept around 5,000 years ago via the Emerald Tablet.3

The first two lines of the Emerald Tablet read:

  1. “It is true and no lie, certain and to be depended upon, that which is above is as that which is below; and that which is below is as that which is above, for the performance of the one truly great work.”
  2. “And as all things are from only one thing, by will of the one God, so all things have their origin in this one power, by adaptation to their individual purposes.”

The Great Work is the process of transmuting a faith-based worldview into one that is in accordance with the actual nature of reality. Of course, the “one thing” is God, but important to note is that, while Hermes has told us all things are of God, he also said that each individual has been differentiated as a unique aspect of God. This echoes the concept of life as a fractal in which God is the top fractal.

Morphic Fields

In the Hypothesis of Formative Causation proposed by Rupert Sheldrake,4 formation of a living organism is managed via what he refers to as a morphic field. The field is nonphysical and formation is based on what he refers to as Nature’s habit. In a physical organism, the fields are arranged in a hierarchy of nested fields, meaning that there is a top field (Intelligent core is body consciousness) and many dependent fields such as skin, bones, organs and cells. There is a many-to-one relationship (nested) so that for instance, many cell morphic fields would be associated with the skin morphic field.

Speaking in terms of cosmology, morphic fields are etheric. To work, they need basically the same functional areas shown in the Life Field diagram. Nature’s habit is like the Worldview functional area. The ability to evolve Nature’s habit is in the Perceptual Loop. External expression in the diagram represents the organizing influence a morphic field has on the physical processes of organism formation.

Sheldrake’s Hypothesis of Formative Causation is by no means established science. In fact, it tends to be an updated variation of Lamarckian evolution5 which competed for a time with Darwinian evolution but then was discarded for lack of a recognize physical mechanism for transmitting change to the next generation. The difference is that Sheldrake has given a mechanism for inheritance that makes sense considering current understanding of the etheric.

There is some analytical support for the inheritance of acquired traits,6 but the real interest for this discussion is how Sheldrake applies Nature’s habit. Expression by a life field and a morphic field must follow the same principles. Applying the principle of as above, so below, if morphic fields are validated as the building block of organic life, the same principles and research should apply to life fields.

Unconscious Perception

Who we are, is not who we think we are.7 I have discussed this concept in other issues of this column. As the Life Field diagram shows, the attention complex is an unconscious part of our mind. We become consciously aware of the results of the processes represented by the Perceptual Loop. What we become consciously aware of is based on our worldview.8,9

The importance of unconscious perception is that we use the same mechanisms that organize cell formation to develop an objective image of our physical world. This is an emerging realization of mainstream science8 and you can expect to hear a lot more about this in the future. The Life Field diagram illustrates unconscious filtering of conscious perception.

Source as a Life Field

Considering what has been presented here,* reality can be modeled as a hierarchy of nested life fields. Source is the top life field, and as such, it is also the reality field. In effect, everything in reality is in Source’s life field by way of the thread of entanglement between first cause and subsequent aspectations. This influence of entanglement is a function of intention, attention and imagined outcomes.

* Additional support for this cosmology comes from various forms of transcommunication and psi research.

A morphic field is modeled so that the organism it influences is in the field. This is because the morphic field imposes an influence on the biological process. In the field means within the field of influence expressed by the morphic field or life field.

This hypothetical model is important to support the idea that God (Source) is the reality field. Consider how we express our personal reality. What we imagine remains associated with us by way of a link of attention. What we expect to express via our creative process remains in our influence field. It is in effect, in our field of influence, just as we are in God’s reality field.

Personal Reality

Key to this discussion is the idea that we make our world. We have a personal reality based on what we believe to be true (worldview). Since we only become consciously aware of what our unconscious perceptual processes present to our conscious self, we literally experience objective reality as it is expressed by our beliefs. This is becoming established science.8, 9 We manage our sense of reality by learning to change worldview. One way to accomplish this is via mindful living.10 In effect, that is what we do while learning to understand Natural Law.

If life fields are fractals in Source’s reality, then it is arguable that Source also has a personal reality and is seeking to align it with its actual nature. As such, God is still learning.

Self-organizing Reality

An important indication about the nature of Source (God) is that the concept of organizing principles (Natural Law) enables reality to self-organize without an all-knowing god. If a cosmology begins with a sentient personality that is given the functional attributes of a life field, then all else follows without much intervention.

Notice in the Life Field diagram that there is an Intention Channel between conscious self and the Attention Complex. That is the one conscious influence we have on our unconscious perceptual processes. If Source is given the attribute of curiosity about its own nature, it is arguable that it will attempt to visualize itself and its environment as a means of satisfying that curiosity.

Using ourselves as a model, our curiosity about something naturally initiates a mental exercise in which we imagine various aspects of it as it might relate to us. A useful exercise is to imagine what it would be like to own a new sports car. It is likely that we would imagine a situation in which we would be driving the car. If we really want to know what it is like, we would give that Little Me self-determination. When we have explored the situation, our Little Me would return understanding of the experience to our worldview.

Such imaginings are usually only a moment in duration in our unconscious and only the decision emerges into consciousness. However, the exercise will become part of our personal reality if we focus our attention on the question and allow our conscious exploration to run its course.

In terms of cosmology, the process of creating Little Me and the situation we want our Little Me to explore is referred to as aspectation and the process is differentiation. It is our intention that gives the imagined Little Me purpose and attention which determines the duration of the exercise.

In this model, the physical aspect of reality is such an imagining. It is shared by many personalities via their collective of aspects.

The idea of a shared venue for learning is useful to explain the pervasive references in virtually all forms of religion to personalities holding the physical aspect of reality in their mind (angels, devas, nature spirits) and we who experience lifetimes in the physical. As it is modeled in the Implicit Cosmology,11 many personalities are using the physical venue to gain understanding about specific aspect so Source’s nature. Their imaginings produce many aspect personalities which remain entangled with them so that they are the top life field for the collective of their imagined personalities. I am part of such a collective. You may be part of the same collective (Soul mate?), but more likely part of another.

Examples of Self-organization

The functional areas of Life Fields naturally occur in response to the influence of curiosity (Intention and Perception) and the state of understanding (Worldview). This assumption is based on the expectation that such functional areas are necessary to produce known response patterns.

An Organizing Principle that naturally results from our perceptual processes is Perceptual Agreement which can be stated as: Personality must be in perceptual agreement with the aspect of reality with which it will associate. The implication is that we are not able to experience parts of reality which do not agree with our expectations (personal reality). There is no need for an ethereal being to say we cannot go to heaven if our worldview will not allow our sensing of heaven to emerge to conscious self from the Perceptual Loop.

A second Organizing Principle is Cooperative Communities which may be stated as: Personalities are attracted to communities of like-minded people cooperating to facilitate progression. The conscious expression of intention to be spoken to the listener. If this initial effort to explain a concept is followed by questions and new attempts to explain the concept, it can affect worldview in the same way as a Maybe outcome of the Perceptual Loop. (A Maybe outcome changes Worldview).

The Golden Rule of Do unto others as you world have them do unto you likely has at its foundation a more pragmatic Teach me as I teach you. The objective of a lifetime is to gain understanding. As it is modeled, the collective may not fulfill its purpose until expected understanding has been gained by every member life field. Cooperative communities are a natural response to that imperative.

God and Gods

In a sense, people speak as if there is an impersonal ubiquitous god of Natural Law and a personal god of our reason for being. We find meaning in communion with our loved ones, and enjoy the comfort of knowing we have guides dedicated to our progression. Our inner space is populated with loved ones and guides, … sometimes with nature spirits of one character or another.

Always implicit in our sense of inner community is the understanding that there are ethereal beings at the edge of our awareness; present, but acting through our more accessible loved ones and guides. It is to those implied gods that I believe we direct our prayers; perhaps not as the deliberate act of a metaphysician, but the instinctive act of respect for those we sense care if we progress in our understanding.

In this cosmology, these ethereal beings are the top life field of our collective. Just as we have many Little Me aspects of ourselves populating our imagined inner worlds for experience, so we are Little Mes for these beings. It is our ethereal beings who must wait until we gain sufficient perceptual agreement to return our treasure of understanding so that they may move on toward their ethereal being. As I have come to understand order, it is through this progression that Source will eventually come to understand its nature.


  1. Butler, Tom, Life Field, Etheric Studies, ethericstudies.org/concepts/life_field.htm
  2. Sierpinski Triangle, Fractal Explorer, fractal-explorer.com/sierpinskitriangle.html
  3. Butler, Tom, The Emerald Tablet, Etheric Studies, 2015, ethericstudies.org/writing/emerald_tablet.htm
  4. Sheldrake, Rupert PhD. Morphic Resonance and Morphic Fields, on the Rupert Sheldrake Biologist and Author website, sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/morphic/morphic_intro.html
  5. Waggoner, Ben, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829), University of California Museum of Paleontology, www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/lamarck.html.
  6. Appleyard, Bryan, Rupert Sheldrake’s Alternative Science, 2012, bryanappleyard.com/rupert-sheldrake-alternative-science/
  7. Joshi, Sheila, James Carpenter’s First Sight model and neurological damage-induced psi openings, Blog: Neuroscience and Psi, August 11, 2012, neuroscienceandpsi.blogspot.com/2012/08/james-carpenters-first-sight-model-and.html
  8. Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Decision-making May Be Surprisingly Unconscious Activity, Science Daily, 2008, sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080414145705.htm
  9. Bargh, John A.; Morsella, Ezequiel, The Unconscious Mind, Yale University, 2008, yale.edu/acmelab/articles/Bargh_Morsella_Unconscious_Mind.pdf
  10. Butler, Tom, Mindfulness, Etheric Studies, 2014, ethericstudies.org/concepts/mindfulness.htm
  11. Butler, Tom Implicit Cosmology, Etheric Studies, 2015, ethericstudies.org/concepts/cosmology.htm
All Things Etheric

Opinion Setters: What to Believe

The Seeker’s Way

If you consider yourself a paranormalist, then you are probably a seeker in search of spiritual maturity. One of the things that distinguish you from mainstream society is the realization that you have a part to play as a citizen of a greater reality. For all of us, coming to understand what that means and how to integrate that understanding into our life underlines much of what we do.

We are not born with this understanding, only a formless imperative to gain understanding; a spiritual instinct, if you will. It is a huge step in our spiritual evolution when we evolve from formless instinct to the understanding that this urge is so much more than just idle curiosity; when we come to understand that it is, in fact, our purpose.

While realizing the need to gain understanding about our connectedness with the greater reality is important, there remains the task of finding the path of learning which is right for us. Each of us is different and the way of progression we must follow is likely different as well.

A way of learning is not so much a matter of this lesson or that. It is a lifelong process shaped by our individual point of view, but it must permit, even require frequent examination of beliefs and a pragmatic attitude about truth. Our teachers are most often accidental role models; family members or peers we admire or who provide examples of how not to be. Some we seek out, and as is the nature of humanity, some may be described as false teachers.

Opinion Setters

Some of our teachers are the opinion setters of our community such as politicians and scholars. Important teachers are the holy men and women who have gone before us and now seek to show the way for those of us who would come after. We must depend on guidance from the opinion setters, but the task is to understand their message and to select the opinion setters who can show the way without demanding belief in their dogma; however, before you can do that, you need to understand what you want to learn.

The idea of an opinion setter will likely go against the grain for most paranormalists. We are an independent lot and know that we have been pretty much lied to by mainstream society. In fact, many of the opinion setters of mainstream society are the skeptics of our frontier community. They would have us believe that our urge to gain understanding is illusion and that reality stops at the edge of the physical. They would have us believe we will cease to exist when our body dies.

So, we look to the leaders within our community for guidance. But first, it is probably a good idea for you to know why you should listen to me. After all, it seems here that I am posing as an opinion setter talking about opinion setters, which is possibly a conflict of interest.

In mainstream terms, you might think of me as a futurist. In fact, much of my last ten or so years in the corporate world was as a long-rang planner. I polished my crystal ball every morning. J

Today, I consider myself a metaphysician. The fruit of a metaphysician’s study is a cosmology. A good metaphysical cosmology will provide a model to help a person understand their spiritual nature and how they might relate to the greater reality. Naturally, such a cosmology represents the author’s understanding, but it should be based on available science. There are a number of good cosmologies, so to help keep track, and for reasons I will explain later, I refer to my work as the Implicit Cosmology. So, think of me as an aggregator of ideas. And as such, I do not see myself as an opinion setter, only a reporter. My objective is to give you enough information for you to develop your own opinion.

Explaining Experiences

The first foundation of fact is that people have experiences which are not satisfactorily explained by mainstream science. It is these experiences that distinguished the paranormalist community.

An important perspective about experiences is that, if they are able to be explained as something ordinary that has been mistaken as paranormal, the experience is just that. It is not paranormal. For instance, if a suspected Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) turns out to someone talking down the hall, then that example is not EVP. EVP are by definition anomalous voices; voices in recording media not explained by known science.

If a mundane explanation cannot be shown, there must be a hypothesis which at least provides a plausible model for the experience based on current science and known fact, all informed by proposed alternative explanations. What was the experience? Did others share it? Is it common or rare? Can it be replicated under controlled conditions? If known science does not explain it, what is the least extraordinary model that will?

Different Views of Reality

While we share a common interest in things paranormal, we tend to fall into sub-communities of interest characterized by rather different point of view. These can be generalized as those of us who believe that mind only survives as memory and those of us who believe it continues as living personality. These are very profound differences, but it is seldom obvious who is in which camp.

The easiest way to keep track of these two points of view is the Super-psi Hypothesis (survived memory, memories of the past) and the Survival Hypothesis (survived, living personality). For a general description of these:

Super-psi Hypothesis

  • All that exists is the physical universe.
  • The universe may have evolved from a singularity into what it is today.
  • An as yet unidentified form of space called psi (psi field) permeates all of physical reality.
  • Life has evolved on earth from a primordial soup into what it is today.
  • Mind exists in the psi field and continues beyond death of the brain as differentiated, residual energy.
  • Brain is a transmitter/receiver for mind.
  • Thought, memory and emotions are retained in the psi field.
  • People have five senses that are informed by impressions from the psi field.

The Super-psi Hypothesis requires the existence of subtle energy which is influenced by intention. Once formed, it is argued that information exists forever in the subtle energy field as memory which is accessible by sensing the psi field (psi functioning, psychic). As such there is no such thing as mediumship, only psi functioning. Super-psi does not require the existence of a greater reality, survived living intelligence or a nonphysical source (creator, Source, Gostrongd). That means mainstream academia need only accept the existence of a psi field and an extraordinary human ability to psychically access information retained in that field.

Parapsychological research tends to support Super-psi without many of the logical exercises needed to make it support survival. As such, it is widely accepted amongst parapsychologists. However, since the existence of psi is not expressly defined by mainstream science, it is rejected by mainstream academia.

Survival Hypothesis

  • There is a greater reality of which the physical universe is an aspect.
  • The psi field is an aspect of a greater reality.
  • An as yet unidentified form of space called psi (psi field) permeates all of reality.
  • Mind, with its thoughts, memories and emotions, has evolved in the greater reality and continues to exist beyond death of the brain.
  • For a lifetime, mind and brain are entangled to produce a physical-etheric link.
  • During a lifetime, mind is expressed as consciousness and an etheric personality (unconscious).
  • People have five senses that are informed by impressions from the psi field by way of personality to conscious self.

At first glance, the Survival Hypothesis agrees with super-psi in most details, but there are very substantial differences. Survival requires that personality, as a person’s intelligent core, is immortal: existed before birth of the person’s physical body and continues to exist after death of the body. As such, the physical body is an avatar with which etheric personality is entangled and which host conscious self via the brain as transmitter-receiver of consciousness.

With the requirement of immortal personality, the Survival Hypothesis also requires a greater reality which is personality’s natural environment. Since we are attempting to provide a theory to model paranormal experiences, survival must also stipulate that discarnate personalities are able to communicate across the etheric-physical veil (transcommunication).

If super-psi is not accepted by mainstream academia because of a lack of theoretical agreement with mainstream science, survival is seen as religious nonsense. Many in parapsychology also see it as pure superstition. It is not that parapsychologists are ignoring evidence. It is just that almost all of the survival phenomena can be pretty well explained with super-psi.

Litmus Test

Applying a go-no-go test to anything is intellectually risky, but using a litmus test to decide whether or not to agree with a particular point of view is useful. In this case, does the Super-psi Hypothesis or the Survival Hypothesis make the most sense? Do either allow for reported experiences? If you consider yourself a medium, then I would expect you to turn toward survival. If you think you are psychic, then I would expect you to favor Super-psi.

Psi Access to Information

There is no known way to shield from the psi field or the influence of intention. Also, distance does not seem to be a barrier for psi functioning. It is well documented that people are able to sense information from other people no matter where they are. As such, anything that a medium might sense, presumably from a discarnate loved one, might also be sensed from the mind of the sitter, or even of a friend in another part of the world.

The psi field is clearly nonlocal, meaning that there is no apparent distance between points in reality and psi influences seem to be equally present everywhere. The evidence for a nontemporal nature of psi field is not as certain. All of the presentiment studies I have seen seem to be explainable with First Sight Theory 1 and Presentiment (The sense that something is about to happen).

Precognition—the sensing of something before it happens—is usually thought of as a longer-term sensing than presentiment. In a literal sense, it indicates that all time is now; however, there is much support for the idea of potential futures. Call these a thoughtform or etheric field 2 that represents the process of becoming for a thing, idea or event. There is much more support for the idea that a person might sense potential futures, especially ones that are particularly meaningful to the person or that is eminent while carrying a lot of meaning to the person. In that case, time is real, processes take time and the future is … well, it is in the future and only seen as potential futures.

The hardest part of mediumship research is concocting a test that eliminates the possibility of psychic access of information. Because experiments seem to always have a super-psi explanation for results, mediumship comes out as providing the least convincing evidence of survival when compared with the evidence of reincarnation and near-death experiences. Whatever you tell me as a medium, if I can show that someone in the physical knew that information … now or in the past, I can simply argue that the Super-psi Hypothesis explains the message without resorting to survival.

So the litmus test for mediumship is whether or not the information could have been accessed from someone’s mind or as a memory from the psi field. If the answer is yes, then the message can reasonably be thought of as psychic. The idea is that the explanation requiring the least deviation from known science should be favored. That is the position taken by people who accept super-psi.


This is part of the Implicit Cosmology, which is a hypothesis developed to help explain the phenomena of transcommunication, especially Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC). The functional areas are explained in the Creative Process essay.  [11]

Trans-survival Hypothesis

Take a look at the Life Field Complex diagram, above. It is part of an effort to model the Survival Hypothesis based on current parapsychological research and what is known about Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC). (You may be more familiar with the audio form of ITC which is better known as EVP.) I generalize the model as the Implicit Cosmology. 3

The Survival Hypothesis is referred to but seldom explained as more than “we survive death.” The version I work with is rather more comprehensive because of transcommunication, so I refer to it as “Trans-survival” with the “trans-“ prefix intended to indicate the added influence of transcommunication concepts. The implications of survival are far-reaching and complex, so they are modeled as the Implicit Cosmology.

The only physical part of the diagram is the human body. The only conscious part is the personality’s perception that it is the human body. I refer to this perspective as the human-centric one as “I think I am this.” Everything else is unconscious function.

This model is loosely based on the concept of morphic fields described by Rupert Sheldrake in his Hypothesis of Formative Causation. 4 In that, he describes morphogenetic (morphic) fields for organisms which are guided by “Nature’s habit” for how that organism has always been formed. In the diagram above, the morphic field is the life field, shown here as it is entangled in a physical lifetime. “Nature’s habit” is maintained in the Worldview functional area. The human body has a morphic field but shares the Attention Complex with its entangled etheric personality.

A person is an etheric personality (I am this) entangled with a human body in an avatar relationship (I think I am this). As such, a person shares its worldview with the body and is strongly influenced by the human’s instincts. It is for the person to moderate these physical instincts with spiritual ones.

Morphic fields have a zone of influence engulfing the organism. (It is likely that the influence of this field extends beyond the physical organism and may represent the “personal bubble” many of us claim as personal space around us.) Think of the field as an organizing influence on life processes. A person has a “top” field which organizes many subfields responsible for morphogenesis of chemical production, cells and organs. These life fields also have memory, a means of sensing and expression, a purpose and a means of modifying behavior.

Of course, I am explaining Sheldrake’s model in terms that helps to explain my model. The point is that we think of life from the perspective of the organism’s physical presence, while in fact, there is a rather complex and extensive subtle field associated with every instance of life. We are no exception. If you think in terms of fractals, life would be the universal fractal with Source as the top fractal. Source’s morphic field would be the reality field.

The immortal part of us, our personality, represents the mind of our morphic (life) field. In the Implicit Cosmology, both physically sensed and psi sensed information is processed in our life field. In this model, our personality, as our immortal intelligent core, is actually part of a collective of personalities. As such, our psi interaction with another person is not some unseen ray between our head and the other person’s head. It is modeled as a link of attention between our etheric personality and that of the other person’s personality in the collective.

In this model, when it comes to the exchange of information, there is little difference between a discarnate personality and one still entangled with its avatar human. As such, there is no difference between a psychic and a medium. Both must communicate via their etheric personality.

To emphasize this point, the functions of psi sensing and mediumship are modeled in the Implicit Cosmology as just another form of perception. That is, environmental information (psi signature and output of physical senses to mind) is unconsciously sensed by a person, but a decision is made in the Attention Limiter to ignore or consider the information. If the information is considered, then it is unconsciously related to worldview for recognition. If it is not recognized in some way, it is ignored anyway. Recognition may result in modification of the information to agree with worldview. It is that modified form which enters into conscious awareness. 5

In this model, the litmus test for mediumship is not whether or not it could have been accessed from someone’s mind or from residual memory in the psi field. It must be the content of the information and its sensibility. Does the information source in the etheric interact with the medium in unexpected ways?

The problem of accessing memory is that someone knows what a person might have said, based on remembered mannerisms and attitudes. The only way I know of to address this is to ask whether or not the information seems surprising. Our society is constantly evolving and how we interact with our environment today is at least a little different from how we interacted yesterday. Memory does not evolve unless it is impressed by a living process. People have a good sense of humanness and what seems contemporary, but it probably requires a peer panel to decide. Although it will not likely be a scientific test, perhaps that sense or “newness” is all we have for testing authenticity of mediumistic communication.

In this model, information from other personalities is translated in the Attention Complex based on the medium’s worldview. That is, it comes from the communicating entity as a gestalt thoughtform and is “embodied” in best-fit words, images and feeling from the medium’s worldview. As such, the message may be from an ancient personality even though it is expressed to the sitter in modern terms. As far as I can tell, only deep-trance mediumship is able to bypass the medium’s perceptual process. (Lucidity)

A White Crow

To be valid, survival models need objective evidence that cannot be explained with super-psi. The one example I can think of was produced by ATransC member, Martha Copeland. Martha’s daughter Cathy made her transition while still in her teens. The story of how it began is told in Martha’s book, “I’m still Here,” 6 but to keep this short, she recorded many EVP from Cathy in which she is saying things she would have said during her lifetime.

Martha was of the habit of leaving her voice-activated audio recorder on while she did routine chores, just in case someone on the other side wanted to say hello. One day, her chores were interrupted by a friend’s invitation to go shopping. She left in a hurry, forgetting to put Cathy’s dog, Doja, outside. While she was away, the dog made a huge mess of the house. In an EVP, you can hear the dog  making a mess and Cathy’s voice clearly scolding the dog “Doja … no!” 7

The value of this EVP is that it records an event that no one was aware of at the time of the recording and it is clearly Cathy’s voice saying what she could be expected to say. So I will argue that, if there is one instance that supports survival over super-psi, then it is reasonable to seriously consider the hypothesis as an alternative. As such, I will argue that mediumship is a plausible explanation for some anomalous information access.

Survival Physics

Another example of how a litmus test can be applied is seen in the work of Ron Pearson. He is widely acclaimed as a champion of survival. Taking a close look at his point of view shows that he proposes survival of memory and not of living personality. He has stated: “Although the brain must die its exact copy lives on to be connected with another parallel universe.” 8 As I see it, Pearson set out to reimagine current science to show how, with a few corrections, it supports survival of mind. His focus is on how information never ceases to exist and remains psychically accessible. All of the right words are there for Spiritualist except for how he describes the actual nature of survived information. In actuality, his theory is just a version of Super-psi.

The litmus test here can be described as “the arrow of creation.” By that, I mean that in Super-psi, the arrow of creation flies from that hypothetical primordial soup of our body’s origin. In the Survival Hypothesis, the arrow flies from a Source of reality, of which the physical is just an aspect. So does the theory argue that our personality evolved from the physical body or does it allow for the personality to exist prior to this lifetime?

In the phenomenon of mediumship, our communicators very often tell us that we are part of a collective; that we have begun from that collective and that we remain connected with it via consciousness. We strengthen that connectedness with our attention on it via our mediumship. 9

Anomalistic Psychology

Anomalistic psychology is another field of study ostensibly supporting what we know to be true. As a general rule, psychologists are paranormalist’s most insidious skeptics. A close look at the anomalistic psychology literature will show that studies are mostly concerned with perception of things paranormal with the intention to show that things paranormal are not real … only illusion.

In the article, “What is Anomalistic Psychology” 10 paranormal is defined as “Alleged phenomena that cannot be accounted for in terms of conventional scientific theories.” The author explains that “Anomalistic psychology may be defined as the study of extraordinary phenomena of behavior and experience, including (but not restricted to) those which are often labeled ‘paranormal.’ It is directed towards understanding bizarre experiences that many people have without assuming a priori that there is anything paranormal involved. It entails attempting to explain paranormal and related beliefs and ostensibly paranormal experiences in terms of known psychological and physical factors.”

The emphasis is on “It entails attempting to explain paranormal and related beliefs and ostensibly paranormal experiences in terms of known psychological and physical factors.” “…without assuming a priori that there is anything paranormal involved” can be understood as “without becoming informed about the phenomena thought to be involved.

In a very real sense, anomalistic psychologists set out to prove that whatever the paranormal is claimed to be, it is actually all in the beholder’s mind. This is well-understood by parapsychologists, which forces us to question why that kind of literature is published in a respected paranormal-oriented journal without at least some kind of warning to the reader.

The litmus test for any research report concerning things paranormal is whether or not the authors include consideration of the Super-psi and Survival Hypotheses in a way that leaves the possibility open that they may be real. The second part of this test is whether super-psi or survival is part of the working hypothesis, and if so, which one.

If you consider yourself a psychic, then the second part of this does not matter. All you are interested in is acknowledgement that psi functioning may be real and not imagination. If you consider yourself a medium, then I assume you think you are talking to discarnate loved ones who are still very much alive, just in “different atmospheres and awarenesses.”


Something every paranormalist needs to decide is whether or not the information they access with their inner senses is psychically accessed from memory or mediumistically accessed from a living personality. Is it communication (mediumship) or data mining (psychic)? Technically, there is a huge difference in how psychic and medium are defined. Three models have been discussed in this essay:

  1. The Super-psi Hypothesis claims that the anomalously accessed information is psychically accessed from memory of living people or residual memory in the psi field. It is modeled on psi research, for which First Sight Theory 1 is an aggregator model. (Psychic)
  2. The Survival Hypothesis proposes that information is mediumistically accessed via communication with discarnate personalities. It is based on Super-psi with the stipulation that information is from living personality. (Mediumship)
  3. The Trans-survival Hypothesis proposes the idea that all information is accessed via the person’s etheric personality as a personality-to-personality exchange. (Using old terms, the psychic or mediumship question is decided by message content)

Super-psi allows for survived mind as it evolved with the evolving brain. Survival requires that mind precedes brain, and exists after brain dies. Super-psi and survival ignore the evidence of ITC. All three provide for the unconscious processing of information, the results of which emerge into consciousness but biased by worldview.

It is for you to decide which model makes the most sense. But be aware that what you decide will affect how sensed information emerges into your conscious awareness because your beliefs train your Attention Complex to filter sensed information to agree with your beliefs. For practicing mediums, this also has a lot to do with how messages should be explained to sitters.

As a certified NSAC medium, I serve our local Spiritualist Society with “spirit greetings.” It has always been a source of consternation to me whether or not what I deliver is psychic or mediumistic. Of course, I understand the difference, but after spending so many decades poking around in my mind, the only sense of certainty that the message comes from a loved one is the unexpected nature of what comes to my conscious awareness.

The best solution for me would be if our community changed its point of view away from psychic and/or medium to trans-communicator. The measure of my ability would be the lucidity of my access to my unconscious mind.

Perhaps “transcommunicator” is a better term.


  1. Carpenter, James C, Ph.D. First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4422-1392-0 (ebook)
  2. Butler, Tom, “Etheric Fields,” Etheric Studies, 2015, ethericstudies.org/concepts/etheric_fields.htm
  3. Butler, Tom, “Implicit Cosmology,” Etheric Studies, 2014, ethericstudies.org/concepts/cosmology.htm
  4. Sheldrake, Rupert PhD. “Morphic Resonance and Morphic Fields,” on the Rupert Sheldrake Biologist and Author website, sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/morphic/morphic_intro.html
  5. Butler, Tom, “Perception,” Etheric Studies, 2015, ethericstudies.org/concepts/perception.htm
  6. Copeland, Martha, I’m Still Here, AA-EVP Publishing, 2005, ISBN: 0-9727493-1-4, evpcommunications.com
  7. Copeland, Martha, EVP: “Doja … no!” atransc.org/examples/martha_copeland_evp.htm
  8. Pearson, Ron, “Survival Physics,” World ITC, 2003, worlditc.org/f_19_pearson_afterlife_quantum.htm
  9. Butler, Tom and Lisa, “Hans Bender’s Message at Reno Séance’s,” Association TransCommunication, 2013, atransc.org/circle/hans_bender_speaks.htm
  10. “What is Anomalistic Psychology?,” Goldsmiths, University of London, 2015, gold.ac.uk/apru/what/
  11. Tom, “Creative Process,” Etheric Studies, 2014, ethericstudies.org/concepts/creative_process.htm
All Things Etheric

Conversation: One Size Does Not Fit All


This essay focuses on some of the factors controlling the clarity of our communication with others. The idea is that there are different ways of learning and that personal agendas shape what is said and how it is understand. Five speaker-listener characteristics are described in detail and their implications are addressed. The focus is on mediumship and how these ways of learning influence lucidity.


What our audience hears us say is too often different from what we intend. Probably all of us have had the experience of explaining something, say giving instructions about how to do something, and then seeing the person do it wrong. “Why?” you might ask of the person. “I thought you said to.…” is likely the answer.

The ability to communicate an abstract concept is essential for anyone wishing to share ideas about the paranormal. And as it happens, virtually every idea about the paranormal is abstract, and lacking a common vocabulary, the words we use are often laden with unintended meaning. What does spirit mean? Is spiritual healing just putting a hand on someone’s forehead and praying out loud to God? Are dead people demons if they talk to you? Is that person crazy for hearing dead people or just a witch?

How we answer questions like these depend on our listener’s upbringing. A person who has spent most of a lifetime cloistered in a very orthodox religious family will likely hear words like spirit differently than a person raised in a Spiritualist household. A technical metaphysician will answer differently than a causal seeker. On the other hand, a casual seeker will likely be confused by a metaphysician’s answer.

While I am no expert in communicating abstract ideas, I do have experience in communicating complex ones. From my experience, the “art of communication” is all about understanding that:

  1. People have a style of learning.
  2. What people read or are told is different from what they understand and understanding is always based on their worldview.
  3. People pay attention to or ignore ideas, depending on how the information is delivered, their interest and learning style.
  4. A mismatch of agenda impairs communication.
  5. Worldview changes in small increments; learning hardly ever occurs in great leaps.

The message I would like you to take away from this essay is that sharing information means understanding your audience and perception requires attention. It is especially important for mediums, healers and society leaders to be mindful of how their words are received. For instance, mental mediums speak under the cloak of authority as holy people speaking in the name of the dead which is unconsciously attributed to them by the general public. The result is that mediums have extraordinary responsibility to manage their communication so as to avoid unintended implications and exaggerated expectations.

Here, it is important to picture yourself outside of the paranormalist community. We all know what you mean because most of us have direct experience. We are insiders, but people in mainstream society do not know what you mean. Consider them literalists who will hold you to the literal meaning and implication of every word.

1. People Have a Style of Learning.

Just as people are born left or right-handed, people are born with basic personality traits that tend to influence their behavior. Using the avatar model for a person, our entangled personality brings a personality style via prior understanding and inherited urges, but the human body also influences our decision-making because of the more dominant human instincts.

Personality Style

Personality styles are cataloged and studied in psychology as a means of understanding human behavior, and have been adapted to teach sales people how to relate to customers. A useful categorization is shown in the Personality Styles diagram below. 1 They are:

     Analytical: Thinking, thorough, disciplined; always a student of the subject

     Amiable: Supportive, patient, diplomatic; healer and caregiver

     Driver: Independent, decisive, determined; always thinking about the next step

     Expressive: Good communicator, enthusiastic, imaginative; often the opinion setter

Personality Types

Each basic style is typically further divided so that a person might be seen as a Driver-Analytical or a Drive-Expressive. The point of these styles is that people likely begin dealing with a situation from the perspective of one of these styles. Styles are probably associated with your intelligent core (I Am This).

Astrology is based on the assumption that behavior is influenced by the astrological conditions at the time of the human’s birth. Astrological influences are probably associated with your human body (I Think I Am This).

 Astrology and styles are not being recommended here, and are used to demonstrate that we do tend to display personality characteristics that are evident at a very young age and which tend to shape our lives … and how we relate to others on the Internet.

Of course, the “secret wisdom” of the diagram is that, practicing the middle way, we can move toward specific behaviors as appropriate, but return to balance without attachment to the outcome of our actions.

So What

A Driver, for example, tends to be impatient with people who do not get to the point. While they are important to have around if you want to get things done, they tend to scare Amiables. Expressives help to keep Drivers on track and Analyticals help to keep Drivers on the right track.

For a second example, Amiables connect a community with its purpose as its feeling, sensing aspect; however, that influence must be balanced by the other three aspects for the community to thrive.

The Internet brings people together according to their interests, but there is usually no way to separate people by learning styles. As such, it is common to see all four styles represented in any one thread, often to the dismay of the person who started it. This diversity is important, but can be damaging if communicators do not act accordingly.

2. What people read or are told is different from what they understand and understanding is always based on their worldview.

To keep this one simple, I will make my point and ask you to follow a recommended link for an essay that explains the details. Here, I will say that it is becoming increasingly evident to psychologists that we unconsciously process what we sense and only become aware of the results of that processing. The translation from what is heard, felt or seen is based on our worldview. Worldview represents personal reality. It is like a database that is filled by our parents, teachers, local culture and the media. 2

A hint as to the rules for this unconscious processing of information—what I refer to as the Perceptual Loop—can be seen in a person’s personal style, as described above. The Perceptual Loop is an unconscious process that compares a possible understanding of incoming information with what is in worldview. As modeled, the result of this iterative, streaming process is: “accept” which is presented to conscious self in a form worldview understands; “reject” which results in the information being ignored; or, “conditional acceptance” which changes worldview and presents new understanding to conscious self.

So What

If our listener is accustomed to hearing about our subject from the perspective of, say a strong religious upbringing, then a statement such as “I heard from my loved one last night” my well be heard more in terms of possession. The person may hear the words correctly, but they will likely be understood from the person’s personal point of view (worldview).

The founder of a system of thought I was once involved in was a technical metaphysician and his way of explaining things agreed with my way of learning. He made his transition and the man who took his place spoke about the same ideas in more “feeling” terms. One phrase I remember from the new leader is “The golden heart.” Well, okay, I have no idea what that means. That was the beginning of the end for my time with that group.

In the “Golden heart” example, I literally have nothing in my worldview to help me visualize what that means. My personal style leans toward Analytical with emphasis on Expressive and all I am sure of is that “Golden heart” does not register with me.

The point here is that we unconsciously color what we experience to make the experience more familiar. Sometimes this may result in our listeners understanding the message in a very different way than what was intended or maybe even not registering the information at all.

3. People pay attention to or ignore ideas, depending on how the information is delivered, their interest and learning style.

This is a consequence of Item 2 and is referred to as “Switching” by the author of First Sight Theory. 3 Perception is modeled as an unconscious streaming process in that it produces a flow of impressions to the conscious mind (awareness) as information is received.

It is important to note the incremental nature of how awareness comes to us. A continuing process such as someone talking or information from reading a sentence, emerges into the conscious mind as a gradual “coming to understand.” If the reader is a Driver and the information is written by an Amiable, the Driver’s attention will likely switch between trying to absorb the message and wondering why the person didn’t get to the point faster.

For instance, it is difficult for a Driver-Analytical to sit through a video to access information. For them, video presentations just take too much time to get to the point. In fact, a five-minute video seldom conveys more information than can be written in a few paragraphs, so unless some animated or reality segment is required, an Analytical and certainly a Driver will probably not sit through a video. There is also the danger that some people will resent the perceived waste of time.

The same can be said for explanatory articles. Magazines intended for popular consumption such as “Scientific American,” typically begin articles with a too long “It was a sunny day and I admired the person’s home as I drove up…” kinds of dialogue. If an article is a reasonably technical discussion about immunology, for instance, why would the reader be interested in where the immunology expert lives or if the sun was shining?

So What

Your audience will listen to you with rapt attention, but take a close look at their eyes. Are they glazed over? Be aware of your purpose and get to the point. In technical writing, a good introduction, or better, a good abstract may be your only chance to communicate your point. Video may be easier for you, but a few written paragraphs might result in better communication.

Also, think about what you want from your communication. Do you expect your target audience to refer back to parts of your presentation? Would you like your work to be cited as a reference in an essay?

Controlling Switching

A second implication of switching is that we are conditional about what we focus on and therefor what we experience. During conversations, we likely, rapidly move our attention from what we are supposed to be experiencing to whatever we are working on … maybe lunch. It is important to be mindful of this because it has a lot to do with our ability to learn.

Remember that this is an unconscious process and simply deciding to focus on the conversation seldom helps. Controlling the unconscious processes is a way of life, as our perceptual processes are moderated by habit.

If you are developing mediumship skills, for instance, the ability to suppress switching will greatly enhance your lucidity. While switching is an unconscious process, it is driven by worldview and that can be changed over time as you would change a habit. (See item 5) Intention is a function of your conscious self. As you intend to focus your attention, you signal to your unconscious, perceptual processes what is important to you, but it takes time to develop that habit.

4. A mismatch of agenda impairs communication.

This is all about point of view. An example is what I have experience when trying to explain to a skeptic editor why the Rupert Sheldrake article in Wikipedia is biased. The skeptic’s agenda was to make Sheldrake look like a fool, and saying he is a biologist would indicate he is qualified to discuss morphogenesis. My objective was to have the article describe the man in a balanced manner. No matter what was actually said, the outcome was already determined by the skeptic’s agenda and the overwhelming number of skeptics backing him.

Remember Thomas Harris who told us in his book,”I’m OK-You’re OK,” that real communication between two people could only occur if both are in an “OK” place in life.4 This is also true of agendas. What are the two parties trying to get out of the exchange?

Mismatch of agendas tend to produce the phenomena of skepticism. The less what we say agrees with what our listener is expecting from us, the more likely our listener is to reject our words. The result is a skeptical response that emerges into our listener’s conscious awareness. Everyone is potentially a skeptic. It depends on how well worldviews match.

People always have tells that give them away, if only we are paying attention. For instance, it is possible to anticipate people who might righteously attack others base on their history. The recent attack by two parapsychologists on one of our mediums is an example of a totally irrational response instead of the true and expected levelheaded report indicating that phenomena had been witnessed under stringently controlled conditions. The investigators had substantial access to the medium during an extended series of séances. Because phenomena were produced despite the stringent controls and distractions, the medium reported feeling the investigator’s agenda was to understand the physical phenomena and would produce a positive report. Yet, the lead investigator and another individually wrote reports demonstrating their probably unconscious agenda. Both articles mostly ignored data collected via the prearranged protocol, and instead, focused on innuendo and hearsay from outside of the protocol to support “what if” explanations that were not evident in the data. In effect, if not in fact, their agenda was to debunk.

This was predicted, as the lead investigator had telegraphed his real agenda about survival concepts on numerous occasions prior to the study.5, 6

So What?

An interesting story portrays a group of friends sitting around a kitchen table, deciding if it is time to drive into town for lunch. During the exchange, there is a lot of “well, okay” kind of comments, rather than “Okay! Let’s go!” comments. At the end of the story, it turned out that none of them really wanted to go, but because they had previously agreed, they felt obligated. In that story, all had the same but unspoken agenda not to go into town. They did not clearly express their position and mistook the position of the others. This story was designed for corporate employee training in office communication.

The moral of the story is to make a conscious effort to let others know what you are thinking. Try to pause the conversation long enough for you to think about what is happening. Being honest (candid) about your objectives will greatly facilitate communication.

Conversely, be mindful of the people you are communicating with. I know skeptics have a “If mainstream science does not say it is so, then it cannot be” agenda in everything they say and do concerning what they see as pseudoscience. If you have read much of my writing, you will know that my agenda is to teach about survival. When you read my writing, and if you are aware of this, then you will know to look for hints of the underlying purpose of what I say.

Most of us intend to say what we mean but we often have unconscious drivers that shape our selection of words. Take a moment and consider whether or not you are understand what is being said and what you are saying. That pause can make a huge difference.

5. Worldview changes in small increments: learning hardly ever occurs in great leaps.

This is a governing principle for persuasive expression. Based on First Sight Theory [3] and an the Hypothesis for Formative Causation, 7 worldview resists change, but does accept small changes if they are an evolution of existing belief or understanding. (Also so see the Perception essay.)

In practical application, we tend to readily experience something if it agrees with our worldview. Remember this is an unconscious process based on our prior conditioning, so if the experience is not recognized by worldview, it might be outright rejected in the unconscious process. This means it will not be consciously experienced. If it is possible for the perceptual process to imagine how the experience might agree with prior conditioning, that “maybe” outcome can evolve worldview to accommodate that slight difference.

It is the “maybe” outcome of the perceptual process that results in learning. It is the rejection of information that does not agree with worldview that leads to skepticism and breaks down communication.

As a practical application of this concept, I talk about a model of reality (cosmology), many parts of which are likely new to people. People will likely reject it if they try to absorb it all at once. To facilitate its understanding, I tend to use some of the concepts in my essays. For instance, you may have noticed that I speak of personality (I am this) and our human avatar (I think I am this). As I read my audience, I expect that this avatar relationship will make sense and will not be outwardly rejected. This is good because it is an important element in the cosmology. As such, prior exposure to the avatar concept will make understanding the cosmology a little easier if it is encounter it in the future.

So What?

An interesting aspect of alien abduction reports is the frequency in which rabbits are involved in the accounts. The ability of the perceptual process to imagine an alternative perception of an experience to get it to agree with worldview is thought to result in substitutions in our perception, such as rabbits for little gray aliens. This is a main cause of what Spiritualist refers to as coloring. Coloring is usually an unconscious, honest process but sometimes a conscious one.

The streaming dream experience looks a lot like our unconscious mind attempting to find a story for sensed information that our worldview will accept. This ability of our mind to tell us a story emerges into our conscious awareness as understanding that is possibly only like but not the same as what was intended.

This is also a factor in what is sometimes referred to as storytelling, in which a person tries to make a supposed paranormal example or mediumistic message makes sense by concocting a plausible explanation. A creative story can bring meaning where there is none intended.

If you are training to be a mental medium, be aware that what you sense via psi functioning is possibly translated by your perceptual processes into your personal symbols based on your point of view. Incremental learning is involved, so for me, it has been a lifelong process of learning to recognize how my unconscious perceptual processes present mediumistically sensed information to my conscious awareness.

Automatic writing, pendulum work, even physical phenomena of the séance room is subject to this translation of original intent into the medium’s or an interested observer’s understanding. Here, it is important to note that the medium works with the sitter and both contribute to perception. This co-creation of experiences appears to be a factor in all forms of trans-etheric influence.

What I refer to as the “Intention Channel” is the link of influence between conscious awareness as source of intention and unconscious as servant of intention. In deep-trance mediumship, the Intention Channel between the medium’s conscious and unconscious awareness appears to be idled in some way so that the external communicating personality is able to express its intention on the medium’s perceptual processes. This transfer of the source of intentionality appears to be necessary for clear lucidity in mediumship which produces uncolored message and/or phenomena.

As a final note, it is apparent that many of us are able to spontaneously enter into a relatively deep trance and remain functional. This usually occurs without our realizing the change in state. For instance, when we pause to remember something, for a moment, we suspend many of our mental processes in order to increase lucidity. This translates as clearer access to the unconscious perceptual processes. Acknowledging to ourselves that we are likely functional trance mediums is one way to increase routine lucidity.


This essay began as introspection as to why I am uncomfortable exchanging comments in social media such as FaceBook. It is evident that people there see the world differently, not right or wrong, just differently than me. On close examination, it is clear that many others in the groups are not communicating very well because, while obviously thinking they are making a good, well-explained point, they are not. Yet, a few others seem to think they did. Obviously there is much more to conversation than simply typing out a comment.

On the Internet, what we say through our writing is all we are to others. Others do not see our smile or always understand if we are kidding. This is especially true if there are unexpected cultural implications attached to our words.

The Internet is a most powerful tool for community building. But to use this tool, it is important to be mindful of the underlying dynamics that shape how our words are understood.

This is doubly true of serving others via mediumship. Try to listen to what you say from the perspective of mainstream society. Many people believe in some things paranormal such as ghosts and heaven, but they subscribe to what mainstream science teaches them. Part of what they are taught is to be suspicious of what the mainstream does not understand.

The rest of the world, with which we seek legitimacy, is watching, so let us take care how our “like-mindedness” is understood by others.


  1. Merrill, David W. and Reid, Roger H., Personal Styles and Effective Performance. l.: Chilton Book Company, 1981. See: http://www.sage.edu/centers/asset/ITK_SocialStyles____New_Download.pdf
  2. Butler, Tom, “How we Think,” Etheric Studies, 2014, http://ethericstudies.org/essays/how-we-think/
  3. Carpenter, James C, Ph.D., First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4422-1392-0 (ebook). See: http://firstsightbook.com
  4. Harris, Thomas A. M.D., I’m OK – You’re OK, the book,1969, http://www.drthomasharris.com/
  5. Butler, Tom, “The Felix Study: Personal Attack Under Cover of Science,” Etheric Studies Essays, 2014, http://ethericstudies.org/essays/the-felix-study-personal-attack-under-cover-of-science/
  6. Butler, Tom, “Critique and Trojan Horse Websites,” Etheric Studies 2014, http://ethericstudies.org/viewpoint/trojan_horse_websites.htm#Associations_as_Bad_Citizens
  7. Sheldrake, Rupert PhD., “Morphic Resonance and Morphic Fields,” Rupert Sheldrake Biologist and Author. http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/morphic/morphic_intro.html
All Things Etheric

The Winter Solstice as a Parable for Progression

Like the Winter Solstice, Progression is a cycle of Renewal

January is a good time to stand back and consider what we are doing, where we are trying to go and whether or not we are on a path that is right for us. I begin with a discussion about the implications of the Winter Solstice and a brief exploration of how some people relate to that moment of renewal. Speaking for myself now, it seems odd that I am so introspective about a day of the year. Yet, there is this urge which needs exploring.

Instincts from Two Sources

We are citizens of reality and only visitors on this physical earth. While there is no obvious foundation in the metaphysics for our etheric personality to have a tradition associated with the earthly seasons, there is solid support for the idea of cycles, polarity and balance which we associate with progression (spiritual growth).

Nature, both physical and etheric, typically changes (evolves) in small increments, and seldom catastrophically. As a model, this change can be characterized as: growth (new understanding); integration leading to maturity; extended stability leading to stagnation; introspection/assimilation; and, renewed effort which initiates new growth. This is a cycle we experience in our progression (spiritual growth) and we do have respect for this cycle in our etheric “DNA.”

Of course, our humans have evolved in a world of seasons, and recognition of the cycle of birth, living, maturity and death is in our host’s DNA. Early societies learned to expect this cycle, work with it and even honor the certainty of the Wheel of Life. Modern religion and philosophy have evolved from these early attempts to understand and live with these life-forming influences.

For early civilizations, honoring Mother Nature was an obvious choice, even as ways were found to put her to work. In the early days, marking the cycles of the year so as to know when to plant was a natural part of honoring the forces that made that possible; however, today, we have clear-cut “This is religious belief” and “That is science.” This sanitation of our understanding of natural influences has helped humankind progress, but it has also left us with urges for which we have no real expression. The human in us needs gods to worship and we, the etheric personality in this entangled relationship, need mysteries to solve.

As probably the most important moment in earth’s year, the Winter Solstice marks the end and the beginning of earth’s cycle of renewal. Humans around the world instinctively recognize this cycle, and we who are etheric personality also recognize this from a spiritual perspective. The results are culturally unique ways of embracing this urge to revere nature.

I am okay with this logic, but there remains the question of how to put this urge to work.

Cultural References to Renewal

Here are a few ways in which this recognition of a cycle of renewal has been honored by societies. As you read them, look for the common factors


The Winter Solstice is celebrated in Wicca as the Yule. (“Iul” meaning “wheel.” (i u L) … think The Great Wheel of the Zodiac; The Wheel of Life.) From The White Goddess website: “Yule is deeply rooted in the cycle of the year, it is the seed time of year, the longest night and the shortest day, where the Goddess once again becomes the Great Mother and gives birth to the new Sun King. In a poetic sense it is on this the longest night of the winter, ‘the dark night of our souls’, that there springs the new spark of hope, the Sacred Fire, the Light of the World, the Coel Coeth).”1



Silver fern frond: Wikimedia Commons


The Māori people of New Zealand use the koru (Māori for “loop”) to symbolize new beginnings or new life. The spiral shape is based on a new, unfurling, silver fern frond. The spiral is one of the oldest and most universal of religious symbols. It represents continuing inward to the source and outward to the world of manifestation; growth and evolution, evolving journey in life.

Celt spiral

Triple Spiral at Newgrange, Irland By Chris Evans, flickr.com/photos/drumminhands/


This triple spiral is an ancient symbol of Celtic beliefs. The meaning of the symbol is not definitively known; however, many people suggest it is the ancient Celts symbol for the passage through birth, death and rebirth. Notice that the figure is drawn with a single, unbroken line, suggesting a continuous movement of time.

The symbol was found carved in the rock forming the front wall of the inner chamber of the ancient mound of Newgrange, Ireland. The mound was built during the Neolithic period around 3200 BC, possibly to mark the beginning of the New Year. The rising sun of the winter solstice shines through a narrow passage to illuminate the carvings, including the Triple Spiral.

Native American

The Medicine Wheel, and sometimes the hoop, is symbolic of the vital force of Nature and the personal power within each of us. “Medicine” is a term used to mean this force. The Medicine Wheel is divided into the center and four quadrants representing East, West, North and South. These quadrants are assigned a color and special meaning. Part of the wheel’s meaning is the understanding that nature is cyclic and we humans are affected by Nature’s influence.

Dark Night

Dawn thefilesoflife. wordpressdotcom

Dark Night of Soul

Saint John of the Cross (San Juan de la Cruz<>; 1542-1591) wrote a poem titled The Dark Night of Soul, and according to Got Questions Ministry, “This eight-stanza poem outlines the soul’s journey from the distractions and entanglements of the world to the perfect peace and harmony of union with God. According to the poet, the “dark night of the soul” is synonymous with traveling the “narrow way” that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:13-14.2

This poem was written in 1578, and the concept has since been adopted by many systems of thought to describe the emotional crises seekers often encounter.

The dark night is typically described as beginning with a growing self-doubt which may lead to deep depression and sense of futility. When all seems to be lost, the seeker experiences an abrupt awakening with heightened consciousness. The seeker is, in effect, reborn with greater understanding. From this “awakened” perspective, the “dark night” is seen as a necessary tearing down of old structures of thought and belief so that new understanding can be gained.

While the Dark Night is said to be experienced by seekers, it is a cycle that everyone probably experiences to some degree. The awakening need not be into a higher consciousness, but may simply be a fresh outlook on life. There remains the clinical depression which is not accompanied by such awakenings, and one should be mindful not to forgo help with the expectation of greater understanding.

Born Again

For some Christians, being born again is to undergo a spiritual rebirth or regeneration of the human spirit from the Holy Spirit. The idea is thought to have come from John 3.3 in which Jesus tells a Pharisee (member of ruling council) that: “Unless a man is born anew he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” He goes on to explain in John 3:5 that: “Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” The reference to water is thought to mean baptism, which is a commitment to the teachings of Jesus.

While “born again” in the context of Christianity usually means a spiritual awakening, it is most often applied in the sense of baptism or conversion from a commonly passive form of worship into one of great commitment to the teachings of Jesus.

It is important to note that, as portrayed in the Bible, Jesus presented himself as a three-fold teacher in much the same sense as Hermes Trismegistus. Hermes Mercurius Trismegiatus is thought to be the source of one of the first divine dispensations of knowledge about our spiritual nature. Much of ancient wisdom is attributed to his teaching, either directly or from inspiration. The last part of his name refers to Hermes as the greatest philosopher and the greatest priest and the greatest king. That is, he represented the path of learning (philosophy), a person who has learned (priest) and the accomplishment made possible by learning (king).

Jesus is shown in John 14-6 to say to his disciples: “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” That is, he is not a deity but an example as the three aspects of the teacher: follow me as what I teach is the way; follow me as the Spirit of Truth; and, follow me as I have lived.

As it is in the Book of John in the bible, the concept of “born again” appears to explain that the seeker must discard traditional systems of thought and follow the three-fold teachings of Jesus. Those same teachings were taught by the followers of Hermes and are being taught today by some systems of thought. The Spiritualist’s Declaration of Principles 3 is a useful reminder of this way, as is the Tarot as it is taught by B.O.T.A.4

Hermetic Wisdom
Key 16 The Tower

An important concept taught by ancient wisdom schools is the idea that people become set in their ways and that it is necessary to break down those old structures of thought and behavior so that new ones can take their place. Of course, mindful living is all about that process as a way of life, but in some systems of thought, it is assumed that spiritual growth cannot occur unless mind surrenders to the new order. Like The Dark Night of Soul, this is seen as a catastrophic event which is illustrated in Key 16, The Tower, in the Major Arcana of the Tarot.

The Tarot of the Waite Deck illustrates the Great Work as progression from Key 0 as The Fool (lead) to spiritual maturity (Gold; the Fool again, oddly enough). Virtually every element in The Tower has special meaning. For instance, the tower itself represents ignorance. The crown represents will power. The man and woman, who are featured throughout the Major Arcana are actually two aspects of a person: the man represents self-consciousness and the woman represents sub-consciousness.

Common Attributes

Any senior citizen can tell you that understanding is relative. What was right often turns out to be a cultural norm when considered many years later. I have considered natural law for nearly sixty years and I still am not sure that there is such a thing as an immutable law. Instead, it seems evident that we, as the experiencing aspect of Infinite Intelligence (Source and reality field), are learning, and therefore, so is Infinite Intelligence. That necessarily means the expression of Infinite Intelligence also evolves. Rupert Sheldrake talks about this in a local (physical organism) sense as “Nature’s habit.” It is changed as the organism come up with creative alternatives.5

Understanding does converge on something like a truth, however. A curve of this would look a lot like a half-life curve so that our first encounter with an experience might give us a good sense of what is true, but the next encounter will likely show that we did not completely understand, thus requiring us to modify our understanding. Of course, this all assumes we are paying attention and actually want to learn. As you can see, the next encounter will likely produce more understanding, and so on. The curve approaches complete understanding (truth) but never quite makes it.

Part of the reason for this imperfect understanding is that we share this venue for learning with other personalities. With those other personalities, we create this venue, and as our understanding increases, so the creative result is modified. …so goes the theory.

So what does this have to do with the Winter Solstice? First, it happens every year; it marks a cycle like the Fool in the Tarot. As a parable for progression (understanding), it illustrates that spiritual awakening is an iterative process. While the Dark Night of Soul and The Tower of the Tarot represent awakening, they are not seen as a one-time event for the seeker. Key 0 of the Tarot, The Fool, is seen as both the beginning and the end of the cycle which is expected to repeat countless times. This is echoed in the many initiations required in some modern societies as members progress from first initiate to master.

As we are beginning to understand about how our mind works, learning occurs in small increments. And as such, the Tower represents an “Ah ha moment.” That is the “secret wisdom” I see in the depiction of sudden enlightenment. It is in this gradualism with an occasionally catastrophic moment of progress that I believe we all sense in New Years, the Winter Solstice and spring renewal. The Māori people have it about right. Each year, the fern unfurrows its new fronds; the spiral represents renewal, and that is a cycle of life. The rest of the story is that progression is a life-long process.


  1. The White Goddess, thewhitegoddess.co.uk/the_wheel_of_the_year/yule_-_winter_solstice.asp
  2. “What is the Dark Night of Soul?” Got Questions Ministry, gotquestions.org/dark-night-soul.html
  3. Spiritualist Society of Reno: spiritualistsocietyofreno.org/about_spiritualism.htm#Principles
  4. Builders of the Adytum (B.O.T.A.), bota.org/botaineurope/en/tarot/
  5. Sheldrake, Rupert, Morphic Resonance and Morphic Fields: An Introduction, sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/morphic/morphic_intro.htm

Additional Reference

Briers, Francis, “3 Cultural Learning Styles,” fudoshin.org.uk/blog/2010/8/16/3-cultural-learning-styles-linear-cyclical-and-holistic.html

A Personal Note

As I said in my first offering, individual progression takes a community. I am always interested in your comments and suggestions. Am I too far out on the fringe? Are there points that need clarifying? What would you rather I talk about?

I am also interested in help proofreading the text. Please let me know of typos and parts that seem contradictory or simply do not make sense.